Wind Tower Manufacturer Locates in Tennessee

Officials of Aerisyn, a wind tower manufacturer, will begin operating a new production facility in Chattanooga, Tennessee this summer.

The company is investing more than $7 million in equipment and capital improvements to the building, and expects to start manufacturing the tower structures for wind turbines in this facility in June, according to company President Marlin Laidlaw. Aerisyn plans to create 75 new jobs initially and could employ as many as 150 people within three years. “Aerisyn is a substantial addition to Chattanooga’s existing high-tech manufacturers that support the community’s efforts to assume a leadership role in energy conservation enterprises,” said Trevor Hamilton, Vice President of Economic Development for the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce. “Additionally, it is great to see a former manufacturing space be brought back to life for this unique and exciting industry.” Aerisyn expects to manufacture up to 200 towers during its first year of operation in Chattanooga. The wind towers that support the rotor and generator of the wind turbine will be 200 feet to 300 feet tall and up to 15 feet in diameter at the base. Crucial to Aerisyn’s decision to locate in Chattanooga was finding a manufacturing facility that was large enough to accommodate the tower manufacturing process in one building and that contained the crane capacity to facilitate the process, and was also located next to a barge port. The company has a lease on 155,000 square feet in the Alstom facility with an option to expand their production to 250,000 square feet. The barge port is pertinent to expansion of Aerisyn’s business to offshore projects as well as becoming a supplier to foreign customers. Europe and Asia are embracing wind power even more enthusiastically than the U.S., and thus the ability to ship economically to these markets is an important attribute of the Chattanooga facility. “We have focused on taking advantage of our location within the Tennessee Valley Technology Corridor, and the recruitment of Aerisyn is a great indicator that our efforts are paying off,” Chattanooga’s Mayor Bob Corker said. Aerisyn has already begun exploring additional partnerships in Tennessee with the Oak Ridge National Laboratories, the UT Sim Center at Chattanooga, and nanotechnology company eSpin. The company has also met with officials at TVA, which is operating three turbines in Anderson County. Last fall TVA began adding 15 more wind turbines in support of its Green Power Switch alternative energy program. Company officials said that wind-generated electricity is cheaper to produce per kilowatt than new-installation, electric generation facilities utilizing either coal or nuclear fuel. Additionally, the time to project completion for wind generation is faster than other conventional generation sources. Wind is now economically competitive with other power generation sources due to advances in turbine design and manufacturing efficiencies. “Wind energy allows us to meet the increase in power consumption requirements in the U.S. and at the same time increase our reliance on green power,” Laidlaw said.
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